The British Chamber of Commerce's weekly tracker poll, which serves as a barometer of pandemic’s impact on businesses and the effectiveness of government support measures, received more than 1,000 responses and is the largest independent survey of its kind in the UK.

The second set of polling was conducted from 1-3 April and follows further announcements made by the government to strengthen CBILS and expand support to mid-sized firms.

Just 1 per cent of respondents had successfully accessed the CBILS last week, with 8 per cent of respondents unsuccessful. The complexity of the application process and a slow or lack of response from the relevant body were cited as reasons for those who were unsuccessful.

It is hoped that the government’s announcements made on 2 April intended to improve access to the scheme will see success rates increase in future weeks.

The tracker revealed that to date though, just 1 per cent of firms had successfully accessed CBILS.

7 per cent of respondents were currently using grants for small businesses, but 14 per cent had been unsuccessful.When asked about the reasons they were unsuccessful:

  • 83 per cent said they did not meet the criteria
  • 14 per cent said they had a slow or no response from the relevant body
  • 8 per cent said there was insufficient information or guidance available
Cash flow concerns

Business’ cash flow, an important indicator of overall economic health, remains an urgent concern. The percentage of firms reporting less than a month’s worth of cash in reserve (16 per cent) and 1 to 3 months’ cash in reserve (41 per cent) has remained broadly unchanged from the previous week.

Of most concern, the percentage of firms reporting no cash in reserve was 6 per cent. B2C firms were more likely to report that they had no cash reserves (10%) compared to B2B firms and manufacturers (both 4%).

The proportion of respondents reporting over 12 months’ cash in reserve remains at5 per cent despite a significant increase in the number of respondents.